Hardcore guitarist, songwriter and performer Dave Graney has been hailed as a ‘cryptic rock voyager’, a ‘tooled up clown’, and a ‘freewheeling champ’ during his 25 year album career. The ‘90s rocker shares the ups and downs of his career in the Aussie music industry.
STEPH: You’ve said your music is loaded with ideas and emotions- what really gets you going as a musician?
DAVE: I love guitars and guitar sounds. New music I guess. I don’t listen to music for nostalgic reasons. I like the Melbourne music scene – there’s always so much going on. So many of the musicians are also from Tasmania, actually. I like grooves and voices, so I really tuned into country music, hip hop and reggae: all places for great voices.
S: When does a new idea come to you, and how do you keep ideas fresh after so long?
D: Time is irrelevant in music. It never gets boring. I wish it did, but it’s a chaotic and unpredictable world.
S: Based on what you’ve observed in the industry, do you think today’s bands will live on for decades? Is it possible or has the nature of ‘fame’ changed so that we don’t tend to put musicians up on pedestals as we once did?
D: Jeez, fame is for that TV talent show world. It’s embarrassing to talk about that sort of thing. I liked music because it was a secret underworld. That’s the best part of it, the underworld, not the mainstream. Though, it’s great when something weird crashes into the straight world and smashes everything. That’s the best.
S: You like to play on “cheap guitars” – do you think with today’s modern technology and high quality recording standards, it’s more about that highly produced effect and less about the music itself? How do you fit in?
D: I haven’t really been any good at fitting in. Would be nice to feel at one with my contemporaries or peers. I went down roads that interested me. Digital recording is great. Old school studio skills are amazing too, and it’s great to be able to know people who have them – people who know about things from before the digital era. People who use their ears and know about mic placement. I would disagree that today’s standards are high. Certainly not as high as Frank Sinatra in the ‘50s or ‘60s. Today’s world is coarse and crude in many ways, with a thin veneer of sophistication, and this very much applies to recording.
S: What are some of the important attitudes and life lessons from your long standing career that you have chosen to hold with you today?
Enjoy yourself? There is no industry. Social media is a hoax. Sorry, I haven’t learned much. I like to play music live. That’s about it.
BY STEPHANIE ESLAKE
This article featured in Warp Magazine, February 2014